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Carl Kaufmann was born on 25th March 1936 in Manhattan, New York following the emigration of his parents, Margarete and Wilhelm Kaufmann, to the USA. His father was born in 1895 in Odenwald, his mother in 1910 in Gernsbach. Margarete's love for her fiancé, Wilhelm, resulted in her courageous decision to join him in America. Against the will of her parents she set sail for New York. Following a short visit to Germany in 1939, the outbreak of World War II prevented them from returning to the US, where they had married in 1928. The family now decided to settle in Karlsruhe and Carl experienced a childhood which was dominated by war. He learned at early age that nothing in life is permanent. The photo above shows Wilhelm and Margarete on their wedding-day. Carl, the former Bismarck Grammar School pupil and altar-boy at the church of St Bernhard in Karlsruhe, went on to study Music and Theatre-Studies at the Music and Performing Arts Academy in Karlsruhe where he completed his training as a tenor. In 1950 his brother Thomas was born. 

Carl- the sportsman in action

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Carl's sports teacher and subsequent trainer, Emil Welschinger (see photo), had noticed the speed with which he moved on the football-pitch and decided to take him to an athletics competition where he found out about 'running spikes' and the advantages of a 'crouch-start'?'  Carl lost no time in winning the 100m race, indeed there was no stopping him now! Following a period of more intensive training, Carl won a number of national championships in the 100 and 200 metres as well as a European title. He beat Germany's leading sprinter at that time in the 200m, Heinz Fütterer, who had been given the nickname 'the white streak '. However, recurring injuries prevented him from taking part in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne and forced him to change his focus from the 100 and 200 metres to the 400 metres. This decision was entirely validated, as on the 6th September 1960 the athletics champion together with the American sprinter, Otis Davis, smashed the 400 metres world-record despite the wet conditions. They were the first sprinters to run the 400m in under 45 seconds. In a photo-finish Carl Kaufmann lunged towards the finishing-line, missing the Gold Medal by the narrowest of margins. According to the newly introduced electronic timing-equipment, Otis ran the 400m in 44.91 seconds, Kaufmann in 44.93 seconds. Carl also won a silver medal in the 4 x400m relay. 


The post-Rome period

The life of a professional tenor is not an easy one: lots of evening performances, rehearsals andLehrer.jpg travelling. This lifestyle was not compatible with the demands of competitive sport. Moreover Carl was a family man and therefore the constant travelling was a real problem as he was not able to spend enough time with the family. He decided to train as a teacher (specialising in Sport, Technology and RE) at the University of Karlsruhe. He used to say that he had been born at the wrong time as in those days you could not make a living from medals. Nowadays a really successful athlete would be overwhelmed with advertising contracts.In 1961 Carl married Monica Ullmann. This marriage produced three sons, Michael, Marcus und Christopher. In 1967 Carl became one of the co-founders of the SSC-Karlsruhe (the Karlsruhe Sport and Swimming Association) and in the early years he managed this association from his own home, with his first wife, Monica, helping him with the demanding administrative work. To counterbalance his sporting commitment Carl founded the amateur-theatre, The Owls (Die Käuze). The idea for this new project had been sown at a farewell meeting of a Catholic youth-club. Carl ran the theatre until he died and was responsible for no fewer than 131 productions. His daughter, Cathy, was born in 1970  out of wedlock in the US. They never met. On the 1st September 1981 Carl married Sabine Kowallik, a marriage which produced a daughter, Larissa.

Following his retirement, Carl suffered numerous health problems. Despite these difficulties, he did not give up his work in the community, he felt he had so much more he could do and give to society and so he continued to work on new projects. After a short but acute bout of cancer, he passed away on the 1st September 2008.

Carl was a committed sportsman, father, teacher and theatre-director, a man who often disregarded his own needs to support the causes he loved.   His success in amateur theatre is symbolic of his great determination in life. He believed that to achieve shared success people had to argue their point, lock horns from time to time so that they could eventually move forward together.

Carl was totally committed to the links between culture and sport.